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Food and Drink

Make your own candied orange peel

My granddaughter and I make candied orange peel every year at Christmastime. I think she likes the idea of using orange peels that would normally go in the compost pile!

Candying your own peels takes a little more time than opening a bag of dried apricots, but it is not difficult and requires little in the way of ingredients. We dip the candied peel in melted chocolate along with the rest of the dried fruit (see main text), and give them away.

In our family of allergies, everyone can eat citrus and chocolate, and we also use them to garnish an orange and cardamom cake that everyone in the family can also eat.

Candied orange peel

¶3 or 4 thick-skinned oranges

¶2 cups white sugar

¶2 cups water

Using a sharp paring knife, slice thick pieces of the orange peel, bitter pith and all, but not taking any of the flesh, which you can save for another use.

These will shrink a little in the process. I like slices about 2 to 2{1/2} inches long.

Next, trim the peels to even them up if you like. They don’t all need to be the same size, but you might want to get rid of ragged edges.

Combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and set on very low heat on the back burner.

Fill another pan halfway with water and add the orange slices. Bring to a boil and cook for a minute or so. Drain, rinse the peels under cold water, and rinse out the pan.

Repeat this process three times!

As I said, it takes a little time, and it’s not hard, but the blanching and draining is important. It will remove most of the sharp bitterness.

After the last blanch, place the drained peels in the syrup and simmer for 1{1/2} hours. You can also do this in a low (250 degrees F) oven.

Remove the peels from the syrup and place on a wire rack to dry overnight, making sure they do not touch each other.

The next day, you can dip the peels in the melted chocolate along with other dried fruit. Shake off long drips, and set on parchment.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #437 (Wednesday, December 6, 2017). This story appeared on page C4.

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